Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Obama Doctrine

The Obama Doctrine - Political Punch: "'We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes,' he said. 'There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there's nothing weak -- nothing passive -- nothing naive -- in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King, but as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms.'"

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New Yorkers Flocking to Evangelical Christian Preacher? -- New York Magazine

Why Are So Many New Yorkers Flocking to Evangelical Christian Preacher Tim Keller? -- New York Magazine: "Keller’s latest book, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters, out in October, speaks directly to the concerns of New York and New Yorkers. The book, like the sermons it’s derived from, delivers a sharp spiritual rebuke of the very things—ambition and achievement—that brought many, if not most, of us here. Keller’s message, in other words, is a slap in the face to our civic religion of success. And scores of us seem to be flocking to him."

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is a real challenge for those of us in ministry too...

Anatomy (and Meaning) of the "Did You Know?" Video Series (VIDEOS, PHOTOS): "When you show it to educators, as often as not, the predominant reaction is withdrawal. They retreat like a turtle to its shell. Not all of them. But a lot of them. It's too much. It's too overwhelming. They don't know what to do with it. This is our challenge.'"

Face it

Jose Antonio Vargas: Anatomy (and Meaning) of the "Did You Know?" Video Series (VIDEOS, PHOTOS): "With more than 300 million users, Facebook is like a country of its own. As Mashable reported earlier this month, Facebook grew by 25 million users from Sept. 15 to Nov. 6. If you do the math, as Mashable's Ben Parr did, that's a daily growth rate of 471,698 users. 'That's a small city joining Facebook every single day,' Parr wrote."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dig yields possibly oldest Hebrew text

Science- msnbc.com: "HIRBET QEIYAFA, Israel - An Israeli archaeologist digging at a hilltop south of Jerusalem believes a ceramic shard found in the ruins of an ancient town bears the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered, a find that could provide an important glimpse into the culture and language of the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

The five lines of faded characters written 3,000 years ago, and the ruins of the fortified settlement where they were found, are indications that a powerful Israelite kingdom existed at the time of the Old Testament's King David, says Yossi Garfinkel, the Hebrew University archaeologist in charge of the new dig at Hirbet Qeiyafa.

Other scholars are hesitant to embrace Garfinkel's interpretation of the finds, made public on Thursday. The discoveries are already being wielded in a vigorous and ongoing argument over whether the Bible's account of events and geography is meant to be taken literally."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stagnating Temperatures: Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out

SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "The planet's temperature curve rose sharply for almost 30 years, as global temperatures increased by an average of 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.25 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to the late 1990s. 'At present, however, the warming is taking a break,' confirms meteorologist Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in the northern German city of Kiel. Latif, one of Germany's best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. 'There can be no argument about that,' he says. 'We have to face that fact.'

Even though the temperature standstill probably has no effect on the long-term warming trend, it does raise doubts about the predictive value of climate models, and it is also a political issue. For months, climate change skeptics have been gloating over the findings on their Internet forums. This has prompted many a climatologist to treat the temperature data in public with a sense of shame, thereby damaging their own credibility."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Youth

I just turned 41. My daughter asked me if I felt old. I told her that I still feel young, though my hair and second chin betray the years passed.

I read this today. It explains my feeling much more eloquently.

Manvotional: “Youth” by Samuel Ullman | The Art of Manliness:

"Youth

By Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on religion in New England

The McReynolds Story: Christianity in New England. Who can believe it?: "In some ways students are more spiritually open than ever. New England may currently say it's not 'religious', but I see everyday that everyone worships something. When I explain why I worship the God of grace and truth, justice and mercy, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the Bible; people listen-they may not agree-but they listen intently. Some respond with joy."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Others seem so happy

circulus vitiosus: "'The only happy people I know are people I don't know well.' --Helen Telushkin (via Dennis Prager)"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The McReynolds Story: Every Grain Of Sand

The McReynolds Story: Every Grain Of Sand:
"Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What problems does Google Wave solve?

danieltenner.com — What problems does Google Wave solve?: "In your average corporate environment, though, this happens all the time. People work on documents, presentations, etc. They have lengthy discussions over email. Pieces of work bounce back and forth across one or multiple organisations for weeks before they’re finalised. People are brought on to the conversation late in the day. Attachments get lost. Inboxes fill up and emails bounce. It’s a major pain.

So what are the problems with email in a corporate environment, and what does Wave do to address them?"


Let the healing begin.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I don't know

I don't know about this but I'm willing to give it a try.

in reference to: Google Sidewiki (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, August 03, 2009

This is not your Father's Suburban Sprawl

Joel Kotkin: "Perhaps even more important may be social changes that could make Relos less relevant in the future. For decades in the post-World War II era it was believed that “spatial mobility” would increase, hastening social disintegration. This vision was epitomized in Vance Packard’s 1972 best-seller, “A Nation of Strangers,” with its vision of America as “a society coming apart at the seams.”

But in fact, far from becoming ever more nomadic, Americans are becoming less so, as the population ages and as formerly urban amenities are more widely dispersed and accessible. As recently as the 1970s, 20% of Americans moved annually; by 2004 the number had dropped to 14%— the lowest since 1950. By 2008, barely 10% were relocating.

These days human-resource executives complain that workers are increasingly unwilling to move even for a promotion, citing family and other concerns. With the recent economic downturn, worker mobility in the U.S. has waned further. The decline in the relocation tradition seems likely to persist in good times or bad."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Instant

Todd Stocker's Weblog: "When the impact happened, we believe that she was texting (big surprise) because on her phone was a last, unfinished text to her friend Wes that simply read “Tomo…” She never saw the truck. She never heard the hit. The speed and power of the truck hitting the car at 55+ mph snapped her into eternity. The word that comes to mind is Instant. As quickly as you blink, as suddenly as you glance, Makenzie was looking at her cell and then looking at her Savior.

It all makes real the verse that says, “…we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye…” (1 Corinthians 15:51). Makenzie is alive with Jesus and we cant wait to see her again."

Todd is my friend. His blog is bracing in it's honesty about the death of his daughter.

>

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In the Fort

I'm in Fort Collins working on the Staff Conference for the Campus Ministry. Good times. The conference starts next Tuesday.

Science vs. Religion

USA Today:"The conclusion, Dickens said, is that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of this ancient warming. "Some feedback loop or other processes that aren't accounted for in these models -- the same ones used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for current best estimates of 21st century warming -- caused a substantial portion of the warming that occurred during the PETM."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why GTD?

From David Allan: I’ve given numerous “drive-by” radio and TV interviews, the type that give you about fifty-three seconds…. They’ve forced me to distill my message to the bare essentials. A typical question is, “David, what’s the one thing we do that gets in the way of being productive?” Here’s my answer:

“It’s not one thing but five things all wrapped together: People keep stuff in their head. They don’t decide what they need to do about stuff they know they need to do something about. They don’t organize action reminders and support materials in functional categories. They don’t maintain and review a complete and objective inventory of their commitments. Then they waste energy and burn out, allowing their busyness to be driven by what’s latest and loudest, hoping it’s the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is.”


When I first read GTD, I laughed out loud because it described me so well.

(Hat Tip: What's Best Next)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wow

Todd Stocker's Weblog: "Recently, we found out that parts of her eye tissue were used immediately to help two people see: a 53 year old woman and a 9 year old boy. Let that sink in a bit. Makenzie closed her eyes on this earth on June 3rd and on June 4th, two others opened theirs. She gave her sight so others might see. It reminds me of the hymn line “I once was blind but now I see.”"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stuff I Learned From My Dad

Stuff I Learned Video: "I wanted to record some of this for my Dad, for me, and my progeny."

Gen CCC

Based on this article, Campus Crusade is a great place for young people to work.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Carole Ann Willingham

I've spent the last few days in Weatherford, TX to honor the life and legacy of this amazing woman. Many people who are famous, are not great. Many people who are great, are not famous.

Weatherford Democrat - Legacy: "Carole Ann Willingham, 62, surrounded by her loving sons and husband, passed away peacefully at her home in Weatherford Monday evening, June 8, 2009. A courageous fighter, a gifted and caring friend, an amazing mother and wife, Carole Ann embodied the compassion, joy and Christian values of our Lord and Savior throughout her life. Family and friends alike cherish the memory of her smile, the warmth of her hugs and the grace and courage of her trip back Home. Open up the Pearly Gates St. Peter, you have a good one on the way. Carole was born March 5, 1947 in Fort Worth, Texas. A lifelong area resident, Carole graduated from Weatherford High School in 1965. While attending college at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Carole met her future husband before graduating in 1969. Ralph and Carole Willingham were wed May 25, 1968 and loved each other through rich times and poor times, in good times and bad, through sickness and health for 41 years. Through her years in Weatherford, Carole was an active member of the Parker County Teachers Association, served as a Sunday school teacher and for years sang in the church choir. Carole recently retired from the Parker County Co-Op Educational Services where she worked for more than 23 years and made a lasting impact on everyone she worked with. Carole remained active after retirement, keeping busy with her beloved grandchildren, serving the church, Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers and participating in the ministry of the North Side Baptist Church Cancer Care Support Group. Carole cherished her time visiting with friends and family and frequenting the matinee's with the love of her life on Saturday afternoons. Carole is preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Georgia Teague Poulter; and her stepmother, Lola Poulter, all from Weatherford. Carole is survived by her one and only husband, Ralph Willingham of Weatherford; eldest son, Major Paul Willingham USAF of Goodyear, Ariz. and Scott Willingham of Weatherford. She also leaves behind daughters-in-law, Janna Willingham of Goodyear, Ariz., and Stephanie Willingham of Weatherford, Texas. Carole's precious grandchildren include, Macyn Grace, Luke, Tucker and Mia Ann. Carole also precedes her sister, Dru Hogue, and brother-in-law, Glenn Hogue of Benbrook, Texas.Along with her loyal and supportive husband, Ralph, and her proud sons, Paul and Scott, Carole's memory will be held near the hearts of her countless friends and admirers, loving family and church, as well as her precious, cherished grandchildren. Those of us who know her best take comfort knowing that she now may rest. Matthew 25:21 And the Master replied "Well done my good and faithful servant!" Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel. Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 11, at North Side Baptist Church located at 901 N. Main St., Weatherford, TX 76086.Interment in Memory Gardens Cemetery.In lieu of flowers, the family request memorials be sent to North Side Baptist Church, attention Cancer Care Support Group.Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel913 N. Elm, Weatherford, TX 76086(817) 594-2747"


My favorite part of this obituary is the phrase "one and only husband". Ralph and Carole loved each other well with a covenant faithfulness that is a picture of how Christ loves his church.

This will give you an idea of Carole's courage:

Weatherford Democrat - Local survivor gets cancer courage award: "For the past seven years, Carole Willingham has battled inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive disease. Her gracious nature and willingness to pursue different treatment regimens qualified her for the Faces of Courage Award."


I'm honored to know the Willingham family.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Conferences expanding reach with webcast and twitter

Digital @ Leadership Network: Conferences expanding reach with webcast and twitter: "On the first day of the live webcast, Twitter.com comments for the Christianity.com/The Gospel Coalition webcast by online viewers and attendees soared to over 1,100 posts, sending it to the homepage of Twitter and into the daily top 20 most talked about items. Conference participants posted over 2,400 times on Twitter.com during the three day event.

More than 26,000 people visited the free video webcast on Christianity.com. Additional participation on the social network site Facebook.com and in the personal blogs of influential church leaders also contributed to the immense success of the webcast.

“This conference webcast brought challenging theological teaching to thousands who were unable to attend the conference due to financial and other constraints. Social networking websites allowed these online viewers to interact with those in actual attendance,” added McGarvey. “From new Christians to long-time church attendees to church leaders and established pastors, everyone benefited from The Gospel Coalition speakers and the ability to interface with one another about event.'"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science

Denver Seminary: "The strength of Harrison's argument is his insistence that experimental science grew out of the acute awareness that attaining knowledge is not an easy, natural process. In a postlapsarian world, strategies must be devised to overcome the inherited infirmities of original sin, as well as circumscribe the difficulties of apprehending nature, which had become less intelligible since the Fall. A scientist would have to create controlled environments so that experiments could be performed and repeated, and naturalia observed and described. As Harrison points out in the first chapter with numerous cited examples, many of these early modern scientists wanted to recreate the approximate conditions of the Garden of Eden, which had allowed Adam full and unobstructed knowledge of the natural world. He quotes many important thinkers of the time, like Francis Bacon, who reasoned that Adam had been able to name every creature in the Garden because he had known, a priori, the essential nature of each one."

Why I don't waste time on Newsweek...

Ray Kurzweil: "I appreciate your bringing my ideas to your readership. However, there are numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations in Daniel Lyons’ story."

Too many for me to quote succinctly.

Symblogogy: The QR (Quick Response) Code And You


Symblogogy: The QR (Quick Response) Code And You: "In order to have one's phone behave more like a tool than a personalized toy, all one has to do is download a simple program into the cellphone and presto – the camera takes a picture (scans) of a symbol printed on a billboard, flyer, magazine, or display screen then decodes it and has the phone access a “(dot) mobi” webpage on the internet through a series of pre-scripted commands. Quick, Simple, and Easy.

So why hasn’t this form of consumer automation been adopted right here in North America (after all, in large consumer societies found in Europe and Japan, this kind of symbology enabled automation has been used and perfected for years. Fact is, this is why a camera was added to the cellphone in the first place.)? Hard to say, but get ready because the symbology revolution will be vying for your attention at a cellphone or specialty retail store around the corner from where you live, soon."

Is Technology Good or Evil?



Kevin Kelly: So if you have life hacking -- life means hacking, the game of survival -- then evolution is a way to extend the game by changing the rules of the game. And what technology is really about is better ways to evolve. That is what we call an infinite game. That's the definition of infinite game. A finite game is play to win, and an infinite game is played to keep playing. And I believe that technology is actually a cosmic force.

The origins of technology was not in 1829, but was actually at the beginning of the Big Bang, and at that moment the entire huge billions of stars in the universe were compressed. The entire universe was compressed into a little quantum dot, and it was so tight in there there was no room for any difference at all. That's the definition. There was no temperature. There was no difference whatsoever. And at the Big Bang, what it expanded was the potential for difference. So as it expands and as things expand what we have is the potential for differences, diversity, options, choices, opportunities, possibilities and freedoms. Those are all basically the same thing. And those are the things that technology bring us. That's what technology is bringing us: choices, possibilities, freedoms. That's what it's about. It's this expansion of room to make differences.


I think this is why the God of Adam tells humanity to "subdue" the Earth. Technology provides options, choices and freedoms, but technology separated from the goodness and wisdom of the Creator becomes inevitably dehumanizing. Choices made in submission to God and others "subdued" to reflect the art of goodness, love and human virtue. Freedom to love and live in peace only grows out of a "subdued" technology. This is an option, choice, freedom that technology alone cannot provide.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exploring the 2010 Web

Robert Scoble: "In a couple of weeks I’m getting a new 2010 Toyota Prius. If you look at the web site, it seems to be pretty cool, right? But why doesn’t Toyota have a community, or place you can go to talk about the 2010 Prius? Toyota does have a Facebook page, but why didn’t they create a place for me to go to talk about my new Prius with other people? Why didn’t it create a YouTube account that would get hooked in here? Did you know that Toyota’s PR team is on Twitter? Yeah, they are, but you wouldn’t have known by looking at the Toyota Web site. Even over on Twitter and Google it took quite a few tries to find this page.

And that’s what I’m getting at. Toyota is one of the world’s top brands. Has TONS of money to spend on marketing. And they aren’t even taking advantage of the 2010 web. So how are smaller businesses supposed to do it?

For instance, right near Facebook is an awesome yogurt shop named Fraiche. Tons of Facebook employees frequent here. So you’d think they’d be working on a Facebook connect site so that they can let their community know when they have something new to offer, right? No.

Do they use video to tell their story? No. Do they have a friendfeed group where people who love Fraiche can talk about it? No. Is there a blog that shows some of the new things they are adding? No.

This is a business that’s run by the wife of a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and is right in the heart of Palo Alto (a short walk away is Tapulous and Facebook). If they aren’t on the 2010 web, something is wrong."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why has personal fund raising worked for more than 50 years?

United Way's New Way - Forbes.com: "United Way also got blindsided by a changing charity world. The number of nonprofits soared, rising 40% in a decade to 1.8 million and vying for money. Many had a single-issue focus--a specific disease like juvenile diabetes or a narrow cause like open-space preservation--that created close donor identification, loyalty and wallet-opening. Some donors found United Way’s broad funding too defuse."

Non-Profit Organization?

Where Most Needed: Breaking Ranks with the Chronicle 400: "So again this year, the Chronicle has chosen to aggregate the 1,326 United Way chapters as a single organization, making United Way appear to be the largest recipient of private donations. The Chronicle claims justification for lumping together these fiercely autonomous local United Way campaigns because the national United Way has adopted some financial standards. Yet the Chronicle itself notes that less than half of the chapters have adopted the current fundraising strategy advocated by the national office. It's not the monolithic structure they would have us believe."
Is the United Way one organization or a federation of small non-profit groups?

College Students and Social Media

True or False?

College students are at the forefront of social media because of the combination of their disconnection from childhood relationships, the need for new community, social freedom, and large amounts of free time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Are We in a Narcissism Epidemic? No, we're in an idolatry epidemic.

Are We in a Narcissism Epidemic? | Newsweek Culture | Newsweek.com: "But no matter how you were raised, the handiest cure for narcissism used to be life. Whether through fate, circumstances or moral imperative, our culture kept hubris in check. Now, we encourage it. Pastors preach of a Jesus that wants us to be rich."

This is from an article on a new book by Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell called "The Narcissism Epidemic," released last week.

I haven't read the book but the article makes no mention of God or religion save the quotation above. So, let me say that "the handiest cure for narcissism used to be" religion. Or more specifically Monotheism. "God is God and you are not" is a handy cure for narcissism.

The Newsweek article submits this as evidence of our culture encouraging narcissism: "Pastors preach of a Jesus who wants us to be rich."

Hmm. Religious leaders have always done this since Jesus walked dusty streets of Jerusalem. Most of Jesus' first hearers thought he would make them all rich and prosperous by becoming King and throwing out the wicked Romans. So, there was narcissism in the Jesus' day. Fascinating. One of Jesus' closest friends and disciples, Simon Peter, tried to tell Jesus to stop talking about giving his life for others and Jesus told him to put a cork in it (here and here). It's hard to stay a narcissist when you follow Jesus.

The article has no mention of pastors who preach that when you stop worshiping the Triune God you necessarily begin to worship an idol and that all idolatry is a form of self-worship. You can find those pastors here, here and here. Why no mention of these? It's not like these churches are in a corner somewhere either. In fact I think Tim Keller has been featured in Newsweek.

So why not mention pastors of nationally prominent churches who attract young people by preaching against narcissism? As I mentioned here: "blogging (long form tweeting) fear, loathing, and high-handedness..." about X "...sells more books and blog ads than blogging about the balance between narcissism and self expression in general, which is as old as Job's laments."

If this generation is more narcissistic, it is because it is the least religious generation. But even as I write those words I suspect them as overstatement. Narcissism is the binary alternative to worship of the the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It always has been and always will. In this sense I am as big a narcissist as Simon Peter and Abraham. God help me.

A Christian and Twitter: Narcissism?

As much as I hate to wade into this (I wish I had more time), I think it might be an important larger discussion about the virtues and vices of technology.

I'm going to try to limit my comments to my own opinions as an individual Christian. I don't purport to speak for all Christians, particularly because these matters involve new technologies and somewhat novel circumstances. As I explained to my son after watching the movie Valkyrie, I have more access to and transmission power of information in the phone on my hip than most humans have experienced in human history.

Over at Between Two Worlds I read, was sent and then commented on a post affirming Twitter as a cause and vehicle for narcissism. The post also equates social networking more generally with narcissism and nihilism.

As I commented there: Twitter as a technology, is no more or less narcissistic than the printing press. One must have a certain sense of confidence to publish any opinion widely. Is this narcissism or the necessary self-confidence to assert an opinion? If it's narcissism, then all who publish, via press, blog or Twitter are narcissists.

Who is a bigger "narcissist" than Luther? How dare he publish his private opinions to rival the Magisterium! This is an old criticism of Protestantism; not of it's content but of it's temerity.

Or how about Augustine's Confession. Isn't it like unto a giant tweet of personal feelings and experience. Does anyone really care that Augustine was a thief in his youth? Apparently, yes, his "narcissism" notwithstanding.

The medium certainly affects the message but the medium is only as self-centered or self-expressive as the messenger. Twitter is more indicative of culture than prescriptive. If Twitter actually is narcissistic, it is because those who use it already are. But blogging (long form tweeting) fear, loathing, and high-handedness about new technology sells more books and blog ads than blogging about the balance between narcissism and self expression in general, which is as old as Job's laments.

Twitter being simply a tool for communication cannot be narcissistic per se. It's ironic that Christians struggle to see the link between communications innovations of today and key elements of Christian history. I already mentioned the printing press, not to mention the written word in general. You'd think Christians would vilify the telephone more than Twitter since we value the written word. I'm sad to say that when the telephone was invented and first widely used there were probably Christians who decried the vanity of the spoken word and it's effect on society. Imagine:
"What are all those people talking about? Their hair? Their pets? What they had for breakfast? Rubbish! What narcissists!"
Sound familiar?

When your Mom calls and asks what's been going on today, do you stop and think: I don't want to be a narcissist so I better not say anything. Of course not. You disclose your life to people who care.

If you only heard one side of my phone calls you might assume I'm a narcissist because I'm always talking. But your assumption ignores the person on the other end. If you think my tweets are narcissistic, then why do you follow me? How can it be narcissistic if you have to choose to listen in. If you care enough to choose to listen, then it can't be all about me.

I'm on Twitter to stay connected to my office mates when we are out of the office. If you think that is a shallow substitute for real intimacy, watch this and stop talking to your friends on the phone; only talk to them in person so you won't be shallow.

I also get instant updates from the Boston Police while I work downtown. And, at times, I listen to real time conversation about real time events using things like Twitterfall and Twitter Search. For example, right now I'm "listening" to the Swine Flu story break across the globe. I just checked CNN on the web at 12:55 AM and there's a small mention of the flue at the bottom under World headlines. I'll bet it will be a bigger story by noon.

It's ironic that I've spent this much time writing about whether Twitter is narcissistic and I primarily use it to listen. You get the picture.

I'm hoping my next post will be - A Christian and Twitter: Brevity?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free Music: Heart-Shaped Box

The Autumn Film : "For this Giveaway, we followed Tifah into her living room and recorded her as she sang some new material, playing on her old upright. It’s an intimate glimpse into the songwriting process."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle YouTube Video: 100 Million Hits

Epicenter from Wired.com: "Susan Boyle's Britain's Got Talent video is on track to become the most popular video in the history of YouTube, amassing nearly 100 million views in its first nine days and earning the producers of the program a serendipitous, potential windfall that should already be in the millions."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Boom!"

John Madden retires from broadcasting - NFL- nbcsports.msnbc.com: "NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol announced today that John Madden, Hall of Fame coach and the most honored broadcaster in sports television history, has decided to retire from broadcasting.

Madden issued the following statement today:

'It’s time. I’m 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall. I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I’m home and, more importantly, when I’m not…"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dungy and Donald Miller on Obama's Team

TAPPED Archive | The American Prospect: "Although there has not yet been an official announcement, word is leaking out about who else President Obama has selected to fill the remaining 10 seats on his Advisory Council for the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. So far, we know that Christian author and hero to under-35 evangelicals Donald Miller has been tapped for one spot. U.S. News and World Report says that former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy has been slated for another spot."

In-N-Out Burger: Professionalizing Fast-Food - BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek: "But on issues of quality, Rich remained his father's son. In 1984, in Baldwin Park, Calif., he set up In-N-Out University, a training facility, with the aim of filling the pipeline with qualified managers and reinforcing the company's focus on quality, cleanliness, and service. About 80% of In-N-Out's store managers started at the very bottom, picking up trash before rising through the ranks. Rich realized that if he wanted to expand, he needed to put a system in place that would professionalize management.

To attend In-N-Out University, an associate usually had to have worked full-time at a store for a year. In that time, she had to demonstrate initiative, strong decision-making ability, and impressive people skills. A cornerstone of In-N-Out's limited growth strategy was to expand only as quickly as the management roster would allow. At the university Rich came up with a number of ideas to hone the training process. For instance, a team of field specialists was deployed to motivate and instruct associates. Inspired by pro sports teams, Rich began producing a series of training films and videotaped trainees to critique their performance.

Although the work could be dreary—imagine a four-hour shift spent cleaning up spilled milk shakes—associates were made to feel part of an important enterprise and given opportunities to advance. On-the-job training was wedged in between mealtime rushes, and everyone was given large helpings of feedback. Rich wanted each associate to understand his job and how he could do it better. The result was that many part-timers came for a summer job and stayed for a career. "

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Giant Chee-to spurs online frenzy - Mar. 7, 2003

CNN.com - Mar. 7, 2003: "It's believed to be the largest Chee-to in the world. The cheesy glob of fried cornmeal that Navy Petty Officer Mike Evans found last week in a bag of the snacks is about the size of a small lemon and weighs in at about half an ounce."


Wow.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Google Earth's flying tour bus

Google LatLong: Google Earth's flying tour bus: "I've been working on the new feature for Google Earth 5.0 which makes it easy for you to record and share your stories with others. It's called Touring, and with it you can create guided, narrated flights around Google Earth. Think of it like a flying tour bus. Just like a tour bus, you can look around while you travel, you can have narration explaining what you're looking at, and you can get off the bus to wander around. Even better, you don't need roads and you never have to worry about being left behind!"

I need to do some of this.

Pace of Cell Phones

Sent to my by Dave Dishman:

Monday, March 30, 2009

MySmallerSpace

MySpace shrinks as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo grab its users | Technology | The Observer: "MySpace had 124 million monthly unique visitors last month, a decline of 2%, according to the marketing research company comScore. Facebook, by contrast, racked up 276 million unique visitors, an increase of 16.6%.

Michael Arrington, co-editor of the influential industry blog TechCrunch, posted: 'What was a bad situation in November 2008 is starting to turn outright ugly - Facebook is now well over twice the size of MySpace ... It was less than a year ago that MySpace and Facebook were the same size.'"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Northeast: Losing Religion

State of the States: Importance of Religion: "Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts are the least religious states."


This is dramatic because these states were pioneered by people seeking explicitly to practice religion. Of course, as far as I can tell the survey didn't count things like Marxism, Secular Humanism and Global Warmism as religions. Man is incurably religious which is why all "philosophies" take on the structures of religion (e.g. clergy, sin, penance, apocalypse) and are no more or less verifiable scientifically than traditional religion.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

War. What is it good for?

The Progress of Our Arms: "And McPherson has emphasized that the end of slavery ultimately depended on the military defeat of the Confederacy. Without victory, slavery would not have been destroyed. Lincoln was able to free the slaves--and should be granted the credit for freeing the slaves--because he succeeded in winning the war."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

but is he a campus "Crusader"...

Ed Driscoll: "“AP’s Labeling: Obama the ‘Populist Crusader’ vs. ‘Hardline Conservatives.’”"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back to the Future: The Law

10. Ecological Intelligence - 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now - TIME: "But what if we could seamlessly calculate the full lifetime effect of our actions on the earth and on our bodies? Not just carbon footprints but social and biological footprints as well? What if we could think ecologically? That's what psychologist Daniel Goleman describes in his forthcoming book, Ecological Intelligence. Using a young science called industrial ecology, businesses and green activists alike are beginning to compile the environmental and biological impact of our every decision — and delivering that information to consumers in a user-friendly way. That's thinking ecologically — understanding the global environmental consequences of our local choices. 'We can know the causes of what we're doing, and we can know the impact of what we're doing,' says Goleman, who wrote the 1995 best seller Emotional Intelligence. 'It's going to have a radical impact on the way we do business.'"

How, in practice, is this different from the Pharisees of the New Testament and the Medieval Scholastics?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Official Twitter Tags for CSU09?

With all the power invested in my by this garden variety Blogger account, I hereby declare that this year's CSU staff conference will be referred to on Twitter as #csu09ccc

Saturday, March 14, 2009

YouTube Symphony

YouTube - symphony's Channel: "Play your part in music history."


I love this.

The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science

Denver Seminary: "The strength of Harrison's argument is his insistence that experimental science grew out of the acute awareness that attaining knowledge is not an easy, natural process. In a postlapsarian world, strategies must be devised to overcome the inherited infirmities of original sin, as well as circumscribe the difficulties of apprehending nature, which had become less intelligible since the Fall. A scientist would have to create controlled environments so that experiments could be performed and repeated, and naturalia observed and described. As Harrison points out in the first chapter with numerous cited examples, many of these early modern scientists wanted to recreate the approximate conditions of the Garden of Eden, which had allowed Adam full and unobstructed knowledge of the natural world. He quotes many important thinkers of the time, like Francis Bacon, who reasoned that Adam had been able to name every creature in the Garden because he had known, a priori, the essential nature of each one."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gmail fails, signals tech apocalypse | Webware - CNET

Webware - CNET: "But then these are gloomy times, and we're not talking about Twitter, which swoons dead away on a regular basis: this is Google, the bedrock of the Internet. What if we really are facing the Big Blue Screen of Death? What will be the signs if a higher power does hit CTRL + ALT + DEL on our technology-dependent world?

We decided to look for answers in the Bible. The Bible is sort of like God's user manual, and everybody knows you don't crack open the manual until something's gone epically wrong, so we just did what we always do and Wikipedia'd it instead.

According to the Book of Revelations, there are seven stages to the end of the world. These are seen in visions by a chap called John, who is called by an angel to document the end of days. Which he'll film on his Flip Mino and then Twitter about, presumably."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hmm: Obama Plan Would Reduce Charitable Deduction for Some Wealthy Donors - Philanthropy.com

Philanthropy.com: "President Obama today proposed to cap the rate that high-income taxpayers can use to claim charitable deductions as part of a plan to finance changes to the country’s health-care system.

In a document outlining his 2010 budget plans, the president proposes to limit the tax rate for itemized deductions at 28 percent for families making more than $250,000.

That would reduce by as much as 20 percent the amount wealthy taxpayers could reduce their federal tax payments for charitable donations. Under the current system, taxpayers who are in the 33 percent or 35 percent tax brackets use that rate to claim deductions."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Her Christmas List

Right before Christmas my 10 year old daughter tore off a strip of wrapping paper and wrote down here wish list. I reproduce it here to enjoy her whimsy.
  1. LPS Digtal planer
  2. phone
  3. Ds game
  4. Wii fit board
  5. fairy wings
  6. Super power
  7. more metal string
  8. littile sister
  9. cook book
  10. liberty
  11. my own holiday
  12. peace on earth
  13. Garden
  14. Seeds
  15. more allowence
  16. own company
  17. lot of money (10,20)
  18. poputary
  19. to be skiny
  20. fairy God parents
  21. puppy
  22. laptop
  23. condo
  24. active
  25. nicer schools
  26. credit card
  27. car
  28. free School coupon
  29. 3 snow days
  30. cousin to come in summer or Christmas

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why believe in Science?

The Constant Nature of Science: "There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. The speed of light measures the same 186,000 miles per second, no matter if the light comes from a child's flashlight or a star that's galaxies away. Mathematically, there is an exact speed of light that doesn't change.

Physicist Eugene Wigner confesses that the mathematical underpinning of nature "is something bordering on the mysterious and there is no rational explanation for it."3 Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."4

This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence. Instead, scientists cling to their long-held faith in the fundamental rationality of the cosmos.

Physicist Paul C. Davies comments, "...to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You've got to believe that these laws won't fail, that we won't wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour. Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are? ...The favorite reply is, 'There is no reason they are what they are--they just are.'"5"

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Offline Gmail

Official Gmail Blog: "Web-based email is great because you can check it from any computer, but there's one little catch: it's inherently limited by your internet connection. From public WiFi to smartphones equipped with 3G, from mobile broadband cards to fledgling in-flight wireless on airplanes, Internet access is becoming more and more ubiquitous -- but there are still times when you can't access your webmail because of an unreliable or unavailable connection.

Today we're starting to roll out an experimental feature in Gmail Labs that should help fill in those gaps: offline Gmail. So even if you're offline, you can open your web browser, go to gmail.com, and get to your mail just like you're used to."


Hooray!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

GrandCentral Dreams

I've been using GrandCentral for a while now, hoping that Google would make it awesome. 

Now that there's word that Google will release GrandCentral 2.0 a friend comments that they should implement SMS messages to work with your GrandCentral number.

I heartily agree. 

If I know Google (and this will prove if I do or not) they will do this and more. I've been dreaming of this for many moons: 

Gmail Contacts will be integrated with Gmail, Gmail Chat and Grand Central. Gmail already has SMS capability and I dream that it will all come together to truly become the last phone number I'll ever need. 


Gmail Si! Microsoft No!

Here's a great example of why I'm down on Microsoft, ripped from today's headlines: http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/post/PLNK2ZZG6E7EF3IQF

Gmail improves features for no charge and in a timely fashion. And Microsoft:

Interestingly, buried in today's news was the announcement that, Hotmail is finally adding POP3 support - eleven years after Microsoft acquired the service! We've previously covered how it's possible to jailbreak Hotmail data and transfer messages out of the ageing app.

If anything illustrates why data portability is important in web-based services (and for web workers), it's this reality; Microsoft passed an eleven year sentence of imprisonment on its users' personal data and is now paying the price with a 5% decline in its user numbers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not Peanuts

My Way News - Kellogg's recalls more peanut butter products
The recall includes Austin and Keebler branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, as well as some snack-size packs of Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies and Keebler Soft Batch Homestyle Peanut Butter Cookies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

How big is love?

FOXNews.com - Tom Hanks Says Mormon Supporters of Proposition 8 'Un-American' - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment
Tom Hanks, Executive Producer for HBO’s controversial polygamist series “Big Love,” made his feelings toward the Mormon Church’s involvement in California's Prop 8 (which prohibits gay marriage) very clear at the show’s premiere party on Wednesday night.

“The truth is this takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen,” he told Tarts. “There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here's what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed, and people can see who's responsible, and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting Constitution, and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards. So let's have faith in not only the American, but Californian, constitutional process.”


Hmm. Is Tom Hanks saying we shouldn't have laws against polygamy? No "discrimination codified on any piece of paper" would allow quite a bit of "Big Love". It seems to me that laws against polygamy, prostitution and statutory rape are "discrimination codified" on quite a few pieces of paper. I'm going to choose to believe that's not what Tom Hanks meant.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wonderwall

Guerrilla marketers use mobile billboards for surprise ad attacks
Though Catalfumo works primarily in New York City, one recent evening he was in Philadelphia doing "guerrilla marketing" for the Franklin Institute, a science museum and memorial to US founding father Benjamin Franklin.

Standing on a corner near some local bars, Catalfumo and an assistant projected images of a blackbird and a bicycle in a tree onto the wall of a nearby building.

"Curious?" the ad asked from the side of the building, enticing viewers to the institute's website.

"It's a new way to approach people," Catalfumo told AFP. "It's better than doing a million dollar ad clip at the Superbowl where if it isn't ridiculous, you won't remember it. This is an interaction that will last."

As the night went on, the duo was approached by passersby eager for information about the website and the projected images.

"Some people hung out for a half hour to talk with other people coming up to see it," Catalfumo said. "The reaction from people on the street seems like instant gratification and they'll tell more people than if they just got a flier on the way to the train station."

Sam Ewen, chief executive of another innovative marketing company, Interface, said a reason most people are so receptive is because it's so different from traditional billboards.

Global Warming Update

DRUDGE REPORT 2009®

CHICAGO COLDEST IN DECADE...

Chicago has most consecutive days of snowfall since records began in 1884...

Flint, Michigan breaks 95-year-old record...

Blowing snow, frigid temps pound nation...

40 BELOW ZERO...

Frigid air, perhaps coldest of winter...

Watches/Warnings...

Live Chill Map...

Twitter Spreads News Of U.S. Airways Crash In An Instant

Mobile Blog - InformationWeek: "Today was yet another indicator that Twitter is the way we're going to consume breaking news in the future. I learned about the U.S. Airways Hudson River plane crash before it was on CNN.com, NYTimes.com and FOXnews.com.

First there was an earthquake over the summer. Then the downed jet fighter in San Diego. Today, Twitter was the source I first saw reporting the U.S. Airways flight that crash-landed into the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey.

Twitter represents the power of people to communicate events in an instant. Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer was the first I saw to report news of the crash. I quickly checked all the major news sites and saw no coverage. Since I live in the NYC metro area, I ran into my living room and turned on the TV. News channel WNBC 4 in NYC was just interrupting local programming to report news of the crash.

Within minutes there were hundreds of Tweets about the crash, complete with pictures from eyewitnesses and even one person who was on a NYC ferry headed to the crash site to pick up passengers.

That's amazing power, all thanks to the mobile phone and a social networking tool called Twitter. News spreads like wildfire when you can tell 100, 500, 1000 people at once with a single Tweet."

Update: Heinous Facebook Identity Theft

Today I'm in Daytona, FL at Summer Project Directors Conference with my friend and colleague Geoff Freeman. He discovered that someone hacked into his Facebook account, changed his password and then claimed to all of his Facebook friends that he is stuck in London with no wallet or money and needs money sent to him.

Geoff is sitting right next to me right now as this identity thief started chatting with me on me on Facebook.

He claims that I should send money to help him through Western Union to:

Geoff Freeman
32 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town,
London, NW5 2AE United Kingdom

Can someone, somewhere bring this person to justice?

Oh, and make sure your Facebook password is strong.


Update:

"Geoff" just went offline. The real Geoff and I are pretty sure this person is an accomplice.


Another Update:

Here's how my chat with "Geoff" ended...

Apparently he was the done...

Geoff

u there?

all i need now to get on a plane back home is 850

can u loan me that?

8:52pmRyan

how about I send you an even $1000

8:52pmGeoff

ok

do u know any western union agent around u?

or do u have any idea about western union?

8:55pmRyan

yes actually my brother is a western union agent

I'll call him right now. He's actually a district manager so he'll have lots of authority to take care of you

8:57pmGeoff

so how are u going to do it now

8:57pmRyan

I'm going to call him right now

He can contact someone there in London I'm sure

8:58pmGeoff

ok

8:58pmRyan

he will make sure the money gets to you

when should I tell him that you will be there to pick it up?

8:59pmGeoff

just tell him to send the money and i will pick it up here with my passport

are u calling your brother now?

9:02pmRyan

yes

9:03pmGeoff

so how is it going?

how soon will i get it?

9:04pmRyan

he said he needs your passport number

if you don't have a wallet or any other id

9:10pmGeoff

U ARE A FOOL

IDIOT

9:12pmGeoff

IF U TALK TO ME AGAIN...I WILL GET YOUR ACCOUNT HACKED

TRUST ME...I'M THE DONE

FOOL

IDIOT


Final Update:

Last night, after more than 48 hours Facebook finally responded to Geoff and reset his password. He had no response for two days while his account and identity was being used to nefariously solicit money. It is troubling that Facebook is so slow to respond. It makes me question whether Facebook is a good idea.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Best Buy, happier?

Best Buy has a new slogan: you, happier. Wouldn’t it be great if the stuff at Best Buy made you happy. That would make life much easier.

I guess they didn’t see this study about TV and happiness. They sell a lot of TVs

Working Smarter, but not Happier

Hmm, IBM (according to their new ad campaign) is working for a smarter planet, in order to make happy people.

Are the smartest people that you know also the happiest?

That Madoff guy is pretty smart. So were the Enron guys. I don’t’ think there issues were lack of smarts.

The happiest people that I know are grateful, no matter how smart.

The most miserable people I know are angry about not getting what they think they deserve. In fact that’s what causes much of my own misery.

It would be cool if IBM could help me to be grateful. That’s actually why I keep going back to the Bible. It reminds me why I can be grateful.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why I hate the BCS

Rick Reilly: "By the way, we're calling our title the "national" championship because it actually includes the whole nation­—all 119 Division I schools—unlike the BCS, which includes 66. Yeah, the BCS somehow eliminated the middleman—the NCAA. The conferences these schools play in take their dump trucks full of cash straight from the TV networks and fairness can go suck a lemon...

...Sure, BCS blowhards will hand you schlock about how the college football season is like a playoff, how it's an elimination tournament every week. Really? Well, how come Florida and Oklahoma weren't eliminated with their losses? Utah ran the table, beat everybody set in front of them, including Ala-damn-bama in no less than the Sugar Bowl, and gets the bagel.

Oh, by the way? It was Utah's eighth straight bowl win, the nation's longest streak. Among the losers during that run? Let's see USC, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and now the legendary Houndstooth Hats.

"What else do we have to prove?" asks Utah's magical quarterback, Brian Johnson. Good question. He and the Utes essentially whipped Alabama at home. Handed Nick Saban a garlic necklace to wear the entire offseason. Stepped on his team's neck 21-0 in the first three possessions and never looked back. Let's see. Who was it that was losing to Alabama until nearly six minutes into the fourth quarter? Oh, yeah. Florida."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A way with words

In honor of J.R.R. Tolkien's Birthday, I give you one of my favorite passages from The Lord of the Rings:

And behold! it was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank.

A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day, and in hideous eyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil. And the Dark Lord took it, and nursed it with fell meats, until it grew beyond the measure of all other things that fly; and he gave it to his servant to be his steed.

Interesting Stuff